Households were paid their final payment from the £400 energy grant in March 2023 before the scheme ended in April. The scheme was designed to help households in England, Scotland and Wales with rising energy costs.
The £400 energy grant, which was called the Energy Bills Support Scheme, was introduced in 2022 to help individuals and families with their energy bills over the winter period amid spiralling energy costs. The first payments began in October 2022 with six payments paid to households reliant on mains electric and gas.
Here’s how the £400 energy grant worked including how the money was paid out. We also briefly take a look at what replacement grants to help with the cost of living that are out there, including a payment that those most in need should receive from 25 April 2023. This can be found towards the end of this piece.
What was the £400 energy grant?
Over 27 million households in the UK benefitted from the £400 energy grant. The scheme began in October 2022 to help families struggling amid energy price rises. The £400 grant was paid out in six installments and ran until the end of March 2023, when the warmer spring weather began.
The energy grant was not the same as the Energy Price Guarantee, and even with the energy grant payments there was no maximum amount that households would pay for their energy.
The £400 energy grant was given to households reliant on electric and gas in England, Wales and Scotland, but not in Northern Ireland. However, at the end of last year, the government announced households in Northern Ireland would instead be given a one-off grant of £600, which was paid as one payment in January 2023.
How was the energy grant paid?
The energy grant was distributed in six monthly payments until April 2023, rather than one lump sum payment.
Energy suppliers deducted each month's grant from your monthly energy bill, so you did't have to contact them to ensure you received the discount.
How much did homes receive in April?
There was no payment in April 2023 as the £400 energy grant scheme came to an end.
March's payment was £67 — which was the final payment. The first two payments in October and November were £66, and December, January and February's payments were £67.
How did households get the £400 energy grant?
The way households received the grant depended on how they paid for their energy:
- Direct debit and standard credit customers paying either monthly or quarterly automatically had the money credited to their account by their supplier
- 'Smart' pre-payment meter users also saw the grant automatically added to their account
- Those using traditional or 'non-smart' pre-payment devices instead received a discount voucher in the first week of each month, either via text, email or in the post. Homeowners then needed to redeem these in person at their usual top-up point.
Who was eligible for the energy grant?
Every household in England, Scotland and Wales that is connected to the electricity and gas grid was eligible for the grant, which covered around 28 million homes.
What if I live off-grid or use heating oil?
Prior to the government's update on the Energy Bills Support Scheme in December, it had already been confirmed that households using heating oil or biomass boilers would receive £200 as part of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. We know now that this was paid in February 2023.
The government also confirmed that around 900,000 off-grid households without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier, including many care home residents and those living in park homes, would be able to apply online for £400 under an Alternative Funding payment.
What if I live in Northern Ireland?
Equivalent support was provided to households in Northern Ireland, where energy policy is devolved.
In January, all households received a single, one-off £600 payment to help with their bills — made up of £400 of support under the government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme Northern Ireland (EBSS NI), and £200 of support under the AFP scheme.
This went to all households in Northern Ireland irrespective of how they heated their homes.
What about renters?
Renters who paid energy bills as part of their rental charges were eligible for the grant too. Landlords who resell energy to tenants and students were also required to discount these payments from the fixed energy costs.
What will replace the £400 energy grant from April?
From April 25th those most in need will start to receive a £900 cost of living payment. The first payment will be £301 and will automatically be put into the bank accounts of those eligible for the payment.
While this cost of living payment will start hitting bank accounts from April 25th, it has been said that households should expect it instead around May 17th 2023.
"Not only are we providing £900 in direct cash payments to millions of the most vulnerable households, we’ve also extended the Energy Price Guarantee to hold bills down until energy prices fall, raised the National Living Wage to £10.42, put an end to the prepayment meter premium and delivered a plan that will more than halve inflation this year — ensuring everyone’s incomes go further," stated Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer in March.
Eligibility for the payment is for those receiving any of the following benefits:
- Child tax credit
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker's allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Pension credit
- Universal credit — unless it was £0 between 26 January to 25 February 2023
- Working tax credit
You can find more information about this on the government website.
This follows a £650 Cost of Living payment to over eight million low-income households in receipt of certain benefits in 2022. This was done in two instalments, the first (£326) occurring in July and the second (£324) in November.
What about the energy price freeze?
The energy grant was not impacted by the government's Energy Price Guarantee, which is capping typical energy bills at £2,500 until June 2023. This figure will then be reviewed until April 2024.
The Energy Price Guarantee came into effect in October and supersedes energy regulator Ofgem's Energy Price Cap.
The £2,500 figure is based on average use for households on variable rates. But if you use more than the average household, you will likely pay more.
What other energy grant support is available?
In April 2023, a new government scheme called Eco Plus is anticipated to launch, which will help households with funding for new insulation, and could lower energy bills by £310 a year.
There is a Warm Home Discount scheme available for those on low incomes, too.
The following support is also available:
- Insulation grants - some schemes offer financing towards installing cavity wall insulation and loft insulation
- Loft insulation grants - find out if you're eligible for funding for loft insulation, which helps an average detached house save £250 annually
- Window replacement grants - some households may be eligible for funding for the cost of installation
- Heat pump grants - get funding assistance for the installation of low-carbon heating systems.
It's also worth checking out our energy saving tips to help lower your home's energy usage and potentially save more money on bills.
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Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms.
He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.